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Sep 08, 2006, 11:22 AM
Where IS it????
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100 Flight Sessions as of yesterday…

The maiden for the plane (a Slow Stick) and for me as an R/C pilot was on March 18th of this year. On that day I had three fully charged batteries ready, but only got in two hand-launched, 10 sec flights before plane damage terminated the activities. I knew about the need for trim but had no real idea where a good starting point was, and what I should do with the transmitter controls to get it set right once the plane was in the air. (As you might have guessed, this was a boneheaded, no-instructor approach to learning how to fly R/C.)

6th Session: This was the first time I fully drained three batteries flying in simple, large circles, and brought the plane home in a still-flyable condition!

21st Session: Previous flights were at a grassy field and now that I could more-or-less keep it in the air, most flights continued for 8 to 10 min until the battery gave out, and were followed by reasonably gentle dead-stick landings in tall grass. Up until now I had been happy to just watch the plane fly gracefully in a simple, big circle pattern. However, at this point I felt ready for new challenges and moved to another location with a large open fly-over area adjacent to a small-unused asphalt parking lot at a vacant business park. Real wheels-down, rolling landings would be the next challenge!

22nd through 43rd Session:
I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, but I did make the trip to the new flying location almost every morning for several months. I’d get up at dawn, drink some coffee and head to the field while there was still no breeze, and the day was fresh and quiet. There, I’d take off and land….. take off and land….. take off and land …… until the three batteries were dead. Admittedly, some of the initial landings were pretty rough, but my primary problem in these early sessions were hitting the landing gear too hard at too steep of an angle, and continually bending it backwards. I’d then bend it back straight, only to bend it backwards again at the end of the next flight. Finally fatigue caused the wire to break, and I had to start over with a new wire gear.

Finally got past that and now big circles in the sky with an occasional simple loop thrown in was no longer as fulfilling as a gentle and smooth landing right at my feet.

44th Session: Lost the plane! There was more breeze up high and when I noticed that I was farther downwind than I’d like – it was too late. Plenty of battery left, but I couldn’t bring it back. I’d stall it and it would swing around and head further down wind. Finally I lost it behind the trees. Went looking for it in the car but no joy. However, I got it back several days later when a guy noticed my name and phone number sticker on the underside of the stabilizer and called me. I immediately went to pick it up; paid him the stated reward and we were both overjoyed.

45th – 83rd Session. Still getting up at dawn almost every day and still getting good vibes after a real nice landing.

84th – 99th Session. I’m enthused about building a Carl Goldberg Electra and I’m spending that hour after dawn working on it. I only fly the Slow Stick once or twice a week now. A more balanced life – right?

100th Session: And here we are. This rekindling of the model building/flying bug from my youth has added a nice spark to my life. Thanks to all at RCGroups for the wealth of knowledge and inspiration shared here!
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